Productivity = Effectiveness + Efficiency

Talking about productivity, actually productivity is nothing but effectiveness + efficiency. In fact, this is a simple definition of productivity. Effectiveness here means doing the right things while efficiency means doing the things right.

Why effectiveness and efficiency ? Here is the explanation:

  1. Effectiveness
    To be productive, of course first of all you must do the right things. How can you be productive by doing the wrong things ? It can be compared to a runner in the Olympic. If the runner wants to be the winner, then first of all she must do the right thing, which is running to the right direction. If the finish line is in the west, there is no way she can be a winner by running to the east, north, or south, right ?Maybe it seems obvious, no runner will run to the wrong direction. But in life, the opposite often happens. Many people run to the wrong direction. Sometimes they can even spend their whole life running to the wrong direction ! What a pity.But how do you know that you are doing the right things ? How do you know that you are running to the right direction ?This is where purpose comes into play. Your purpose is what determines the right direction for you. You are doing the right things if you are doing something in accordance with your purpose. You are effective if you follow your purpose. So the first step here is you need to find your purpose. This is essential. After that, the second step is doing the things in accordance with your purpose.
  2. Efficiency
    After you choose to do the right things, now you should do those things in the right way. Again to compare with the runner, after she knows which direction to run to, she should run as fast as possible. For that runner, that’s how she does it in the right way: run as fast as possible.In life, you can use a bunch of tools available to do things the right way. For example, in doing your personal finance you can use tools like Quicken or Microsoft Money. These tools will help you do your personal finance efficiently. Or if you want to collaborate with your colleagues on a document, tools like Google Docs & Spreadsheets can be useful for you. After choosing to do the right things, a lot of tools can help you do those things in the right way.

Combining these two – effectiveness and efficiency – means that you do the right things in the right way. That’s what productivity is all about, right ?


  1. I totally agree. A lot of people waste their lives running after the wrong things, when they can make things simpler by pursuing one direction and fulfilling their purpose. Oh, and I like your metaphors. They’re definitely easier to remember than definitions from Operations Management, where productivity means generating an output and efficiency means producing the best output with the least possible resources. 😉

  2. my comment in this topic is that, output is the quantity or quality of productivitie an individual can make from the least given resources. Then, in the area of output and efficiency how does it relate

  3. True. Very great distinction. While productiveness is result-oriented, efficiency is critical when finding the right resources to get to that result in soonest possible time. When these two are combined on a single virtual staff, you’re on a win-win situation.

  4. my comment is that u also saying right so productivity is output input ratio within a time period with due consideration for quality

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